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Tell fortune of her blindness;
Tell nature of decay ;
And if they dare reply,
Then give them all the lie.
But vary by esteeming ;
If arts and schools reply,
Give arts and schools the lie.
Tell how the country erreth ;
And if they do reply,
Spare not to give the lie.
Commandeth thee, done blabbing,
Yet stab at thee who will,
WINIFREDA. About the authorship of this beautiful address to conjugal love, there is also much uncertainty. Bishop Percy calls it a “Translation from the Antient British," probably to veil the real writer. We find it included among Gilbert Cooper's poems, a diamond amongst pebbles ; he never could have written it. It has been claimed for Steevens, who did the world good service as one of the earliest restorers of Shakespeare's text; but who is almost as famous for his bitter and cynical temper, as for his acuteness as a verbal critic. Could this charming love-song, true in
its tenderness as the gushing notes of a bird to his sitting mate, have been poured forth by a man whom the whole world agreed in hating? After all, we have no need to meddle with this vexed question. Let us be content to accept thankfully one of the very few purely English ballads which contradict the reproach of our Scottish and Irish neighbours, when they tell us that our love-songs are of the head, not of the heart. This poem, at least, may vie with those of Gerald Griffin in the high and rare merit of conveying the noblest sentiments in the simplest language.
Away! let nought to love displeasing,
My Winifreda, move your care;
Nor squeamish pride, nor gloomy fear.
With pompous titles grace our blood ?
And to be noble we'll be good.
Shall sweetly sound where'er 'tis spoke;
How they respect such little folk.
No mighty treasures we possess ?
And be content without excess.
Sufficient for our wishes give;
And that's the only life to live.
We'll hand in hand together tread;
And babes, sweet-smiling babes, our bed,
How should I love the pretty creatures,
While round my knees they fondly clung ;
To hear them lisp their mother's tongue.
Shall think to rob us of our joys,
And I'll go wooing in my boys. Surely this is the sort of poetry that ought to be popular-to be sung in our concert-rooms, and set to such airs as should be played on barrel-organs through our streets, suggesting the words and the sentiments as soon as the first notes of the melody make themselves heard under the window.
THOMAS DAVIS-JOHN BANIM. CONSIDERING his immense reputation in the Sister Island, the name of Thomas Davis has hardly found its due place in our literature. He was an Irish barrister ; the most earnest, the most vehement, the most gifted, and the most beloved of the Young Ireland party. Until the spring of 1840, when he was in his twenty-sixth year, he had only been remarkable for extreme good-nature, untiring industry, and very varied learning. At that period he blazed forth at once as a powerful and brilliant political writer, produced an eloquent and admirable “Life of Curran,” became one of the founders of the “Nation" newspaper, and carried his zeal in the cause of nationality to such excess, that he actually proposed to publish a weekly journal in the Irish tongue-an impracticable scheme, which happily ended in talk.
To the newspaper which was established, and which the young patriots condescended to write in the language—to use their own phrase-of the Saxons, we owe the beautiful lyrics of Thomas Davis. The editor of the “Nation” had faith in the well-known saying of Fletcher of Saltoun, “ Give me the writing of the